Sunday, 1 July 2012

Sophie On: Her BBC Debut

Hey Guys,

    As I discussed in a rather word-heavy blog post recently, I spent the first month of summer creating Electronic Press Kits (or EPKs) in the hope that these would get Stop/Eject some televised publicity.  I'd made follow up calls as well, but had been told - as often is the case - that we were much less likely to be featured on the news than mainstrain films.

On the set of Ghost Train Spotting. Photo: Katie Lake
   Then, on the last Sunday in June, we were half way through the Ghost Train Spotting shoot, and I'd left the others to prepare the flower shrine for the next scene. Since I was away from the sound recording danger zone, I decided to check my phone; lo and behold, one answerphone message from the BBC, asking myself or Neil to come in for an interview. When? The very next day!

   As all the lovely Stop/Eject fans know, we were featured on the news before, when Neil went on Midlands Today to raise more pre-production funds. It was a wonderful piece but the whole thing was a bit of a waiting game, particularly when it came to the broadcast itself. This time round, they couldn't see us quick enough, and both myself and Neil were in Hereford when they rang - 100 miles away from the studio we needed to get to!

   There were two reasons that muggins here - undoubtedly the less well-known of the two producers - ended up being the one interviewed this time. Firstly, I would be back in Belper by then and therefore considerably closer to Nottingham, and secondly - and most importantly - because Neil was being interviewed by the local paper that day. So it was a doubly good day for Stop/Eject publicity, and keep checking the Facebook page because we upload any newspaper scans that we have.

   Speaking publicly about the film is part of the job (I can reel off the plot overview in less than ten seconds. Seriously, try me.), and I'm starting to get used to being on camera due to my video diaries and appearances in other people's behind-the-scenes podcasts. But going on the BBC? That was pretty darn daunting and exciting all at once!

My BBC visitor's pass, which the lady on reception kindly let me keep.

    Before I go any further I really should say thankyou to all the team at BBC East Midlands Today, not only for inviting me along, but for being so friendly, and interested in everything I had to say. While I was there, they gave me a little tour of the place, including a brief glimpse at the studio itself. When we walked past it, my guide said to me, "recognise anything familiar?" And by god I did - a massive blown-up still of the main prop in Stop/Eject, the tape recorder, stood behind the signature BBC sofas, along with our S/E logo:

The Stop/Eject-ified BBC studios. I'd be happy if it always looked like that!

    I was also introduced to the BBC-standard equipment by a cooly silver-haired cameraman, who gave me a proper look at a camera which was at least four times bigger than anything I'd ever shot on. Apparantly a bunch of the guys there had seen the camera we used on Stop/Eject and were shocked by how small it is, but were also impressed by the quality we achieved (clearly the DSLR revolution hasn't hit the BBC yet). When it came to my interview they actually had to tell me not to look at the camera, to which I said, "I can't help it - it's so beautiful!!" (Yes, that is a Bug's Life quote and it always will be, but I couldn't resist).

   I was a lot more nervous than comes across in the interview, but all in all it went okay. Afterwards I asked when it would go out, and the answer - to my absolute surprise - was, "in about an hour's time". Seriously! Can you imagine that, having to churn out a perfectly cut interview in less than an hour? it also meant that I had to jog back to the train station and actually stop a train from leaving without me, otherwise I would've had to wait for the next one and missed the interview myself!

   It was an epic piece. Shown on prime-time BBC1, featuring almost the entire trailer and with the stopejectmovie.com address on-screen throughout. Afterwards, presenter Dominic Littlewood even said, "that looks really good, doesn't it?" I was on cloud nine!

Even the Triskelle Pictures logo got a split second of screen time!

   So why did we get the BBC interview? Well, I like to think that all my efforts with the EPK helped - once they actually watched the DVD contents it was clear that we weren't amateurs and that we also used a lot of locations their viewers would recognise. But the main reason is that our timing was very, very lucky. They just so happened to be doing a feature on films being made in the East Midlands because the Dark Knight Rises had filmed in part at a national landmark in Nottingham. (I actually said The Dark Knight during my interview like a right spanner. This was an accident, I wasn't just being ignorant!). This recent Hollywood interest has inspired the goverment to get more films made here. A big Bollywood production was also shot here recently, so me talking about Stop/Eject would represent the indie world choosing to film here too.

   In turn, I had to play the game and make sure that most of my answers related to those aforementioned news stories, so I mostly talked about why Goverment support would be a good thing, and how beautiful the East Midlands is to film in, rather than talking about Stop/Eject as much as I would've liked to. Perhaps responding to these questions so compliently gave them enough content to make my interview a whole feature, rather than just a talking head amongst the other articles. But, again, the main reason is that we were really lucky!

   I still don't know if any of the other EPKs I sent out will get us anywhere. In any case, with them - as could've been with the BBC - we will have to wait for a slow news day that may never come.

   The interview was on Iplayer for 24 hours, but you can still catch it in other places if you missed it. Although I won't be uploading my copy onto Youtube for obvious legal reasons, my old Shelf Stackers assistant proved that he still serves me well, because he filmed the whole thing on his phone:



   And if that wasn't enough video goodness for you, the recent surge of publicity meant that we raised enough for me to finally publish the Podcast from Day One of the Stop/Eject shoot that I edited:


   Want one more? Oh, alright then - here's a video of Neil releasing a poster competition for all of you creative types to get involved with:


   Right, I'm signing out of "Stop/Eject land" for tonight, but keep up the love you've been sending to us lately, and I hope we've caused some creative juices to start flowing in return.

Sophie x

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